MIF starting US$1.5M project to help Caribbean businesses fight climate change impact

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the IDB Group is investing US$1.5 million to launch an initiative to help Caribbean coastal communities combat the impacts of climate change.

According to a press release, the initiative in partnership with CARIBSAVE, a Caribbean non-profit organisation, will work directly in eight coastal communities with 1,200 entrepreneurs and 50 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Jamaica, Barbados, The Bahamas and Belize to bolster new business practices to minimise the impact of climate change on production.

“The project will provide locally relevant knowledge that could promote more effective decision-making, planning and management in coastal areas susceptible to climate change hazards. It will also develop business plans for microentrepreneurs that take into account changing climate conditions,” says Gregory Watson, head of the Climate Change team at the MIF and leader of the project. The MIF, also known as FOMIN, its Spanish acronym, is the largest provider of technical assistance for private sector development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The release noted that small developing states in the Caribbean, particularly MSMEs are highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change because of their high dependence on natural resource inputs, a lesser capacity to assess risks from climate change, and low ability to relocate their businesses. The anticipated impacts of climate change in these areas include changes in precipitation patterns, with the likelihood of more intense storms and longer dry spells, increased hurricane intensity, rapid coral bleaching, and rise in sea-level leading to coastal erosion and inundation.

The project will help these communities and MSMEs to develop adaptation plans, respond to current negative effects of climate change and prepare for expected climatic stimuli. Moreover, the project will pilot new opportunities through alternative business models that may better align with changing conditions than their current livelihoods.

MSMEs contribute an estimated 90 per cent of employment and 70 per cent of the gross domestic product in coastal communities in the Caribbean. Major MSME sectors include tourism, agriculture, fishing and crafts.

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